A Bargain with Vile – Crown Crates S3

teso-crown-crates-s03-collectionClavicus Vile, I’ve come to bargain!

You will find yourself repeating this line over and over as you attempt to make a deal with the daedric patron of this season of crown crates. But don’t fool yourself – you are no Doctor Strange, and if you don’t have self control this is one bargain you won’t end up happy with.

While there are plenty of great items new and returning in this season of crown crates, it doesn’t come without its own share of controversies and woes. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of crown crates season 3: Dwemer edition.

The Good

While this season has drummed up its share of controversy, there are many features that have been well received by the community.

Dwarven. Themed. Items. What everyone has been waiting for. From automaton mounts, to Dwarven headgear and tonal forks – this season of crown crates has it all. If you’ve ever been a lover of the Dwemer there are some truly unique items to collect as you bring the majesty of the long lost Mer to life.

For many players, the return of coveted dro’mathra senche and dro’mathra cub will be the highlight of this crown crate season. This renowned mount is highly regarded by many and the chance to obtain it again will be very tempting for many players. It is great that the crates are bringing back old fan favorites that many players may have missed out on.


Another returning fan favorite is the alliance hero costumes. These hero costumes based upon the original cinematic trailer for ESO provide a unique, iconic aesthetic for each of the three alliances. This gives many new and returning players the chance to pick up items they didn’t get a chance to in the past.

Also in this season of crates you will find the continuation of the release of the daedric prince statues. This season features Clavicus Vile and Barbas – a great centerpiece for the home of any devout daedric worshiper. But beware as every deal made with Clavicus Vile can come with unforeseen consequences – much like the creates themselves.

Though controversial, the addition of the resplendent sweetroll item provides an interesting new dynamic to crown crate purchases. This housing item is the same as a regular sweetroll but with the added benefit of being able to convert it to 400 crown gems which is the equivalent of one regular apex mount. This is somewhat controversial as you cannot buy the sweetroll from the crown gem store but it also gives many players the option to get any apex mount of their choosing if they are lucky enough to obtain one.

The Bad

By far the worst part of the Dwarven crates are the secret rare mounts. In the past, given enough time and money you could easily get enough gems to get any of the apex mounts. This season though, that notion has been turned upside down with the inclusion of secret rare mounts. These three mounts can only be obtained by praying to the gods of RNG and no amount of gems will ever grant you solace. To put even more of a damper on this they appear to be even rarer than the regular apex mounts which already have a low drop chance. Any collector out there beware as you could end up spending thousands of dollars and potentially never seeing one drop.


Style motif books in the crown store have always been overpriced regardless of their rarity, but at least they have always been fairly consistent with the predictable, if ridiculous, price of 5,000 crowns. This recent update to the crown crates include three more motifs from in game, but instead of crowns they now rely entirely on RNG or having to gather 200 crown gems to get the motif you want. At first this may not seem like a huge deal. That is until you see that for the average player with no items yet obtained from crates, open a pack of 15 crates for 5000 crowns only to find an average return of around 75-100 crown gems. This means that on average, a player targeting a specific motif could end up spending twice as much compared to if the motif were just listed on the crown store at its already exorbitant price point.

The Ugly

For some reason, ZOS went wild with old lady hats. This season of crown crates includes some of the ugliest headgear you will ever see. You’ll find the likes of the ‘Sadrith Mora Quilted Snood’ or even the legendary ‘Blossom Burst Bonnet’ among the so-called rewards. These items are what you would expect your grandmother to wear with her nightgown – not something to adventure in. Yet they do still serve a purpose of allowing some truly horrendous designs for characters.

Nix hounds. Tons and tons of nix hounds. One of the worst parts of the new season is that they’re jammed full of nix hounds. You’ll find these buggers infest almost every other crate that you open with sometimes even more than one per crate. While you do get 5 gems per nix hound for the trouble of dealing with the buggers you have to wonder how it can be so disproportionate compared to the other items of the same tier.


Drop rate and RNG are once again entirely soul-crushing. I was determined for this article and my own collector’s ocd to get every item from this crate’s season. Over 330 crates were opened in this endeavor, leading to some interesting numbers. Only 9 crates produced an apex mount and 4 produced a secret rare mount – and in case you’re wondering, yup, you can get the same secret rare mount twice. Among other interesting statistics: over 175 nixhounds were obtained including on multiple occasions two in one crate. So buyer’s beware as you could end up spending far more than you want to get that one mount you so desire.

The Fix

While the above really can put a bad taste in many people’s mouth, myself included, I still believe that crates can be salvaged and become a good thing for the community. Below are my ideas on how this system could be improved in the future.

Removing RNG only items from crates would be a huge step in the right direction. Not only does this discourage people over time, it removes the gems goalpost, as people cannot see the end in sight when suffering through a bad bout of RNG. The current implementation may lead many to give up and move on and could lead to many players that consider themselves collectors giving up completely on having their collection be complete as the sunk cost doesn’t outweigh the fallacy of the unknown. While it may prey on those with a gambling mindset, it alienates the vast majority of players.


If ZOS insists on keeping these RNG only items, we can only hope they make it so that if you get a secret rare mount that you can’t get the same mount twice. Getting the same mount a second time and getting 130 gems in return is a huge let down and could lead many people to feel cheated. Another option could be to offer the items up as stand alone purchases at a later point. Hopefully if they opt for this route, they will announce it sooner rather than later.

Bringing back more lower tier items from previous crown store months to offset getting a nix hound in every single crate would immensely reduce the frustration these omnipresent pests are causing. This has the added benefit of also allowing newer players the opportunity to get more items they may want that they previously missed out on obtaining.

Last but not least – the most important part of all. There needs to be clear odds presented in the UI for the odds of receiving specific items from crown crates. This is something China actually requires of game developers, as a common sense law the empowers consumers by turning their stupid purchasing decisions into informed stupid purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that if more players knew precisely how low their odds are, ZOS’ odds of selling these would likely take a serious hit – so this is a change that that’s not all that likely to happen voluntarily.

4 responses to “A Bargain with Vile – Crown Crates S3”

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    Imperial Sorcerer

    Entropy Rising

    Benefactor, thanks a lot for taking the time to write up this article. This really sounds quite bad. I guess I view this as another step down a path of gradual compromises that seem to inevitably occur for most games when they first introduce micro-transaction based systems in to their MMO.

    Everyone always starts off with saying “it’s only cosmetics”, “it’s not a lottery”, and then you get this a year or so later. There are counter-examples, of course. Path of Exile has been very disciplined about the contents of their shop for years. I definitely think the RNG aspect is the worst part, it’s a concept fundamentally designed to take advantage of people. ZOS may suggest that it’s “fun” to open boxes, but it isn’t really. It’s fun to get cool stuff that you can display in your house, but there’s loads of other in-game mechanisms that are actually fun that could be used to accomplish that process.

    Regardless, I think this is (continued) poor form by ZOS on the crown crate front despite the other nice improvements they continue to be making to ESO elsewhere. All I can hope is that this similar model does not appear in other games which look towards existing MMOs as inspiration for their own microtransaction-based systems.



    Founder, creator, and developer of Tamriel Foundry.


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    Total Posts: 1238


    @Benefactor Thank you for writing and sharing this expensive (330 crates!) article. It is informative and entertaining on equal parts. I can’t say I appreciate the concept of crown crates for ESO, or the gambling or collector’s mindset of some players that ZOS seek to profit from. But this seems to be the direction that ZOS wishes to take ESO towards. While there had been many improvements that they have made to ESO for the potential, new and existing players, micro-transaction in ESO in the form of crown crates is the Achilles’ heel. It makes business sense to ZOS, especially with the scrapping of mandatory subscription, but the question is how far can they take this.

    It isn’t just the presence of the crates, but also the prominence through direct reference in-game and advertising (like the current ESO+ bonus event) – at some point, a certain player may be tempted into the crates, the act of which fulfilled a sense of reward/thrill/otherwise, and may spiral into an addiction. That is how people start and while it’s a remote possibility, it’s not something I want to see ESO being associated with. Not even remotely.

    @Atropos I agree with your point on Path of Exile. It is perhaps slightly more forgiving on their part, because there isn’t an upfront cost to downloading their game (other than the stage of the closed beta) and the system/catalogue is not driven by RNG. But even then, their prices are actually quite high for the amount of cosmetics that they provide. Perhaps the only “genuine utility” is the bank space, which is a bit tough to do without, as you progress through the years.

    e pluribus unum

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    Khajiit Templar

    And don’t forget, the first taste is free this week!

  4. Member Avatar


    Total Posts: 1

    Agree that those hero costumes based upon the original cinematic trailer for ESO help many new and returning players get the chance to pick up items they did not get a chance to earlier. Keep on writing such awesome and informative posts.

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